Camps Emphasize Play and Everyday Heroes
– By SDFU Foundation
iPhones, iPads, tablets and GPS.
Modern technology is essential to today’s agricultural producers, but that same technology sometimes keeps their children from getting outside as much as they should.That’s one thing South Dakota Farmers Union Education Director, Rachel Haigh-Blume keeps in mind when planning camps.
“Everything is so structured now-a-days. It’s really important that kids get to be kids,” says Haigh-Blume. “Anything that promotes play, imagination and outdoors is really important.”
South Dakota Farmers Union hosts around 50 camps across the state each year. But camp’s not all about running and jumping; it’s also about education and introducing youth to the many opportunities that exist within the farming community.
“We have a career focus with fun activities on things like animal care, business and mechanics,” says Haigh-Blume. “We want to get kids thinking about all the skills required on a farm and what talents they can bring back as young producers.”
Recognizing Everyday Heroes
This year’s camp theme is Everyday Heroes. Activities highlight things such as the single-family farmer who feeds 150 people and why they are every bit as important as the celebrity or rock star.
Crafts and field trips have always been a part of the camp experience. “We also really want to emphasis service,” says Haigh-Blume. Campers will create blankets for cancer patients and others will visit Feeding South Dakota for some hands-on volunteering.
Safety and paying attention to your surroundings is always a priority at camp. Topics focus on grain safety, power take off (PTO) safety, electrical safety, ATV use and more, whether in town or on the farm.
South Dakota Farmers Union camps are unique in that high school students help create the camp structure. High school senior, Cole Van Gorp of Corsica-Stickney is on the Junior Advisory Council working to help build the best camp experience possible, “We want a place where kids can just open up with the group and have fun with leadership activities.”
Senior Advisor Counselor, Reece Schulte of Faulkton and a freshman at Dakota State University adds, “Getting kids involved and keeping them involved is so important to camp and their interest in farming. We just want to keep that going.”
To learn more about South Dakota Farmers Union camps in your area, go to www.sdfu.org/education/youth-camps